Things were going so well for the Lightning through two periods last night. Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, and Sami Salo had given them a lead on the Canadiens. The third period brought shaky goaltending from Cedrick Desjardins and defensive breakdowns. As the minutes passed over those final 20 minutes, the Bolts saw their lead disappear one goal at a time and finally vanish as the Habs won 4-3.
As of this morning, Tampa is only 1 point out of the bottom spot in the league. One point away from being dead stinking last. The bad news is things could get worse. Something has to be done to try and right the ship. Apparently the guys in the room do too. Following last night’s game the Lightning held one of hockey’s famed players only meetings.
So what actually goes on in these meetings? Former Lightning player Ben Clymer spelled it out for The Hockey News last month. The meeting went on for 15 minutes behind closed doors.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune relayed Steven Stamkos’ post game comments:
“We are not hungry to win right now. We are scared to lose. Going in the third up 3-1, that should almost be automatic, and right now it’s not.’’ (Quote Source: Tampa Tribune)
Where do the Bolts go from here? Some changes appear to be in the works already as defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was placed on waivers today. This would seem to suggest we’ll see another call up from Syrcause. The popular opinion seems to be that Mark Barberio or Radko Gudas could be coming back up. The Crunch players who have come up this season have been an injection of energy and hard play.
Even with continuing struggles, the Lightning are only 5 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 5 may feel like 5 million the way things have been going lately, but there’s still a chance. That’s what we need to cling to. It’s not over until the math says so. Take a look at the upcoming schedule for the Bolts. If the team can come together and work through their issues, now is a great time to go on a run. They just have to stay confident and play the full 6o minutes.
Call me an optimist, but it isn’t over for the Lightning yet. Yes, they need to win an astronomical amount of their remaining games, but we have seen what they can do when they are in the groove. There’s still a chance to salvage this season, no matter how minute it may seem right now.